Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Obama today at the White House for a face-to-face meeting, with much of the leader's attention on Iran's recent efforts to open up a dialog with the United States regarding their nuclear program. An ever cautious Israel has termed the newly elected Hassan Rouhani's approach a "Smiley Campaign" and Netanyahu cautioned the President to be vigilant in deciphering Iran's true intentions.
At the direction of Netanyahu, Israel boycotted the highly anticipated speech given by President Rhouhani before the United Nations General Assembly. In his speech, Rhouhani called for peace and understanding and declared that nuclear weapons were not part of Iran's future.
Only days later Obama and Rhouhani would have the first call between the leaders of both countries in 34 years. Rhouhani returned to Iran with applause from most Iranians though hardliners welcomed him back with chants of "Death to America".
Most Iranians were encouraged by their new president's welcoming of open dialog with the U.S., however, his condemnation of the sanctions imposed on Iran by the West solidified many Iranians support of the U.N. visit.
In his speech before the U.N.G.A. Rhouhani stated that "These sanctions are violent, pure and simple...The negative impact is not nearly limited to the intended victims of sanctions."
Today, officials believe Netanyahu sought to convince President Obama behind closed doors that Iran is not to be trusted. He believes the recent activity is likely rhetoric to weaken current sanctions that are debilitating Iran's economy.
Publicly, Netanyahu told reporters last week and again with the President today that it would be imperative to increase international pressure on Iran if they do not begin to put words into action regarding their nuclear program. "It is Israel's firm belief that if Iran continues to advance its nuclear program during negotiations, the sanctions should be strengthened," said Netanyahu.